I recently had the privilege of being involved in TFT13, a ground-breaking, web-based crowd-sourced conference that unites the globe of IT practitioners. Starting off in New Zealand and following the sun, 24 speakers who were chosen transparently by their peers, shared their thoughts on IT Service Management and related topics. While some talks were about the future of the industry, others reinforced the basics. A talk that grabbed me by the throat was Mark Kawasaki’s ‘The Practitioner’s Road’. Not your usual industry buzzword bombast, but an engagingly frank practitioner biopic about how he struggled with working in an isolated way, doing what he was good at and striving to deliver business value. So what’s wrong with that? Lack of purpose. The bigger picture. As Daniel Pink puts it, there are three factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction: autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Mark talked about there being “value beyond business value”, and that what you do is always related to the organization that you work for, and how it contributes to societal goals. He spoke about transparency, authenticity and community as three central themes. An example of transparency is ‘working out loud’. In other words giving insight into work-in-progress and in so doing, opening up possibilities for others to suggest improvements, to take it to a higher level. But this entails a degree of vulnerability, which is the link to authenticity. Being willing to share your shortcomings as well as your successes. Your good moments and bad moments. He referred to a changing interpretation of privacy and the millennial generation have fewer concerns about letting it all hang out. Another generational difference is that while family life often used to be defined by work, with the family relocating to follow the career of the breadwinner, people now tend to put other values first, and find whatever work that’s around.
Corporations have do offer a lot more than compensation in order to attract inspired workers – as Mark put it, it’s more about the co-operation than the corporation. The third and final major topic was community, which is about consuming and sharing knowledge, and engaging with others who fulfil the role of an expanded team of co-workers. He doesn’t profess to being an expert in these fields but Mark is certainly getting something out of the journey. He speaks about discovering his voice and his community. He broke through, from corporate isolation to community engagement and found a new world, where social and personal value can drive decisions and achieve business outcomes. “My life has changed completely. I discovered a new way of working. The practitioner as empowered employee. Authentic. Amplified. Activated.” I wholeheartedly encourage you to listen to his story and to follow him – or even better, engage with him – on Twitter @WindUpBird.